The decision by Spain's Constitutional Court to accept the appeal of the People's Party (PP) and impose an injunction to stop the legislature's reform of the judiciary and the fast-track renewal of members in this court itself represents the greatest institutional challenge between powers in Spain since the attempted coup d'état of 1981 by a group of army officers. The Constitutional Court has gone out on a limb and decided completely in favour of the Spanish right and far-right, leading to the unprecedented situation in the legislative branch in which a parliamentary debate has been suspended half-way through its process. Thus, the reform of the Penal Code was passed by the lower house, Congress, at the end of last week and this Thursday was due to be ratified by the Senate, something that, in theory, will not happen after the blow dealt to Pedro Sánchez's government by the Constitutional Court.
It is not much use that we Catalans remember that this has already happened in Catalonia, in 2017, on several occasions following the October 1st referendum and the declaration of independence. Nor does it help much to invoke the atrocity of the Constitutional Court failing to respect the popular sovereignty of a legislative chamber, the Catalan one. Those chickens have now come home to roost. The murky waters of that meddling, justified under the banner of the unity of Spain, was bound to have consequences and now they are visible. As always happens, the solution is much more difficult now since the paths taken by both the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court have served as preparation for the jump that has occurred. The climate created five years ago removed some hesitancies and it is obvious that the audacity, and - let's not forget - the absolute support from not only the right but also the left, back then, has given more than enough impetus for the leap into the void that has now taken place.
The problem is: how do you correct an errant Constitutional Court, which adopts decisions by simple majority, with two members whose presence is challenged because their appointments have expired and when those members themselves vote against their own recusal? From Unidas Podemos, it has been proposed to paralyse that request and obtain a ruling from European justice. The Constitutional Court has taken no notice but reaffirms the idea, well established in Catalonia, that a situation is occurring in many sentencing bodies, not only the courts, which obliges Brussels to find a response of equity and justice which is not being given in any case from Madrid. All this while the discredit of Spain abroad is increasing without the fact seeming to the least bit worrying to those who spuriously use flags and concepts to hide the barbarities that are being committed.
It is obvious that the Spanish state is heading onto an unknown path with an unprecedented confrontation between the legislature and the executive on the one hand and the judiciary and the Constitutional Court on the other. The admission to that court of the PP's appeal by six judges, two of them with their mandates expired, against the 'no' votes of five others, reflects the level of polarization of the state and the irresponsible creation of a climate of civil war. It has also been seen that the means in the hands of the right are far superior and that this government has not controlled the power centres for a long time. The Catalangate espionage case, to mention one further example, was a clear case of this. Or the stonewalling by all of the powers of the state against allowing an investigation of the king emeritus or, a little simpler, creating an investigative commission on the matter in the Congress of Deputies. Or the contention over the 'only yes means yes' law with the reduction of sex offence sentences and the interpretations being made by the courts.